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History of Hinohara and Akiruno

Hinohara Village has a very long history. For the more than 100 years since it was founded in 1889, its name and borders have remained unchanged, as its precious history accumulates in the nature around the source of the Akigawa River. Many artifacts, including ruins from the Jomon Period (14,000-300 BCE), have been excavated here, and a variety of traditional art forms have been passed down through the ages. Since ancient times, there have also been parts of Akiruno City called “Akiru” in different combinations of kanji characters, and they have made their way through history together with Akiru Shrine, which is located in the area that was formerly Itsukaichi Town. Akiru Shrine is an ancient shine, and is so famous that it is listed first among the shrines in Musashinokuni-Tama-Hachiza in a record of shrines written in the Heian Period (794-1185 CE). The shrine is home to many cultural treasures.

Akiru Shrine

TouShinji (the Shinto Ritual of the Sacred Meal) and Shishimai (the Lion Dance)

Many traditional art forms have been passed down through the ages, and still exist today in Hinohara Village. TouShinji, which takes place at Kasuga Shrine in the Motoshuku area, is one of them. In this ritual, several young men are selected to enter the frigid waters of the Minami-Aki River wearing only loincloths. There, they conduct a purification ritual involving a chant to purify the six roots of perception (the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and heart), and boil rice to be offered to the gods. This ritual has been designated a Tokyo Metropolitan intangible folk cultural property. Shishimai, or the Lion Dance, has also been passed down in many parts of the village. This type of lion dance, called the sanbiki shishimai (dance of three lions), is said to have originated in the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), and to have spread throughout the Kanto area.


Shikisanba, Jindai-kagura, and Dai-kagura

Shikisanba, which is performed in the Ozawa and Sasano areas, Jindai-kagura, which is performed in the Kashiwagino area, and Dai-kagura, which is performed in the Kazuma area, are performing arts that have also been designated Tokyo Metropolitan intangible folk cultural properties. Shikisanba is a Shinto ritual performed at Ise-Kiyomine Shrine to pray for peace, a bountiful harvest, freedom from illness, and safety in the home, as well as to offer thanks to the gods. Jindai-kagura is performed at Nango Shrine to pray for a bountiful harvest, safety in the home, and freedom from illness. It is also a chance for parishioners to find mutual comfort in one another. Dai-kagura is performed at Kuzuryu Shrine to pray for a bountiful harvest and for prosperity.


Handmade Washi: Gundoshi-paper

Gundoushi-paper is a type of handmade washi (Japanese-style paper) that has been handed down in Otsu, an area located in the mountains at the westernmost edge of Akiruno City. This paper is designated a Tokyo Metropolitan intangible folk cultural property. It is said to have originated with the paper used in the large battle flags borne by the vanguard of the defeated warriors fleeing the Summer Siege of Osaka in 1615, and to have then been passed down through the generations. Currently, this traditional culture is being passed down to future generations through the activities of the Preservation Society of Gundoushi, at Akiruno Furusato Koubou-Workshop. For a fee, visitors can try making paper by hand or dyeing washi.
(C)City of Akiruno



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